One year later, the Fairtrade COVID Fund continues to make a significant impact for farmers

More than 500.000 farmers and agricultural workers in nearly 60 countries around the world are reaping the benefits of the Fairtrade COVID Relief and Resilience Fund, a joint effort developed by Fairtrade International, its member organizations, and government and commercial partners, aimed at delivering aid direct financial support to small producers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Long term recovery

The € 15 million Fund launched last year in response to the pandemic and runs through 2022, providing a range of long-term recovery and short-term relief measures in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, including the provision of emergency measures, such as personal protective equipment, awareness campaigns on the prevention of COVID-19 and diversification of livelihoods.

“The COVID-19 pandemic shook the very foundations of our global economic and social systems. But for agriculture and farming communities in vulnerable regions around the world, the impact of COVID-19 was especially devastating, ”noted the Dr. Nyagoy Nyong'o, Fairtrade Global Executive Director .

Covid-19 Relief Fund

“By implementing the COVID-19 Relief and Resilience Fund with our key partners, we have been able to ensure that farmers and farmworkers in the Fairtrade community have the necessary health and financial protections to continue their valuable work, protect themselves from further shocks caused by the pandemic and rebuild more just for a more sustainable and equitable future.”

Support for the COVID-19 Relief and Resilience Fund was provided by the German Federal Ministry for Development and Cooperation (BMZ), the German Development Corporation (GIZ), the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Commonwealth and British Overseas Development. Office (FCDO) through Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility (VSCF), among others.

Economic recovery

Along with immediate health and safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Fund is also helping to address economic recovery needs within affected producer organizations. Additional recovery efforts include helping smallholders initiate and carry out programs to ensure food security, secure and increase income through diversification of crops and markets, address human rights risks in supply chains, and improve digital technologies as the basis for a fairer recovery and for building future business resilience.

Crisis times

"It is the poorest of the poor in developing countries that are most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic," he said. the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, Dr. Gerd Müller . “Hunger, poverty and unemployment are increasing dramatically. We are contributing eight million euros to this fund to help small farmers and cooperatives to continue farming even in these times of crisis and thus provide enough food for hundreds of thousands of people.”

Half a million people in more than 900 producer organizations in nearly 60 countries have already benefited from the Fund, with producers in Colombia, Nicaragua, Kenya, Côte d'Ivoire, India and Indonesia receiving most of the aid.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on growers has been dramatic. At the tea plantation of several Hatton Plantations Limited properties in Sri Lanka, the pandemic meant that workers faced financial difficulties and a health crisis when shipping ports closed, halting tea exports. Fairtrade funds helped provide essential medical supplies and protective equipment, including more than 30.000 reusable masks, disinfectant bottles and disinfectant.

Protection and security

“Through the Fairtrade Aid Initiative, we were provided with fully equipped personal protective equipment. The five divisions of the farm have also received masks, hand sanitizers for the entire workforce, ”explained R. Murali, a tea worker. "Our workers can now work safely in a protected environment," they added.

Meanwhile, in southern Morocco, Coopérative Imgoun's operations were similarly affected by the economic fallout of the pandemic.

With the Fairtrade COVID-19 Fund, the cooperative was able to build water wells and reservoirs using sustainable solar pipes, to expand the amount of land that can be irrigated and allow them to increase and diversify production.

Resilience and Support

In addition, the Fund enabled Coopérative Imgoun to launch a new website and facilitate sales operations by ensuring that its products can be promoted and easily accessible to potential customers.

"We applaud the producers of commerce for their resilience at this difficult time," Dr. Nyagoy Nyong'o Anadio “And we are delighted that they are investing their share of the Fairtrade COVID-19 Fund to build back fairer for a greener and more equitable future.”

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